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Dual citizenship in Vietnam for a Viet Kieu?

Be warned.  I have a drinking problem:  2 hands, but only 1 mouth.  :D

Wild_1 :

Hi Sofia,

Does any of your parents still have his/her Vietnamese citizenship?  If both of them are Canadian citizens, than you are considered a Canadian citizen, not even a Viet Kieu.

If that is the case, then there are only 2 ways for you to gain Vietnamese permanent residence and/or citizenship.  The first is one of your parents reclaims his/her Vietnamese citizenship; and you tag along with him/her (through birth).  The other is for you to marry a Vietnamese citizen and gradually work your ways toward Vietnamese citizenship (through naturalization).

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise because they are just taking you through the loops and, in the long run, you will probably end up at square one again.  The fore-mentioned paths are the simpliest and least expensive to you.

But as of now, to help make things easier for yourself, you should get the school that you are teaching at to help you with a temporary residence card.  They should know the process and should be able to get that for you in little time and without much hustles.

As for business, it is a rather long story.  But, let me tell you this:  if you want your Vietnamese citizenship, then wait until you get that done before getting into business here.  Otherwise, you will be fighting an uphill battle administratively and financially.

If you need more information, feel free to PM me.  I am a dual citizen, Vietnamese/American, and have been doing business here for over 3 years now.

Hope that answer some of your questions.

Best wishes,
Howie

~~~~~~

Hi Howie!

I was born in Vietnam but surrendered my citizenship to become a US citizen (at that time I didn't know about dual citizenship!).  Is there a way that I can get my dual citizenship back because my parents are VN citizens?  Who would I call to get this done? (consulate of VN?)

Thanks!

Hien

Hi Hien,

Find out where your Vietnamese birth certificate is, then contact the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate near you.  The process is pretty straight-forward, once you have your BC.

Best,
Howie

Hi Howie!

Thank you for your response.  I have a really old BC that's barely readable, I want it translated and notarized into English.  Can the VN consulate be able to do this too?

Thanks
Hien

Yes.  But they charge substantially more, compared to other Vietnamese document services.  Plus, as long as the serial numbers are legible, that will be all that you need.  When you get to your place of birth, using that information, you can trace and get official copies.

As for now, look up the embassy's website and follow its instructions. 

Best,
Howie

HOWIE,
THANK YOU!

HIEN

Noogied :

I was born in Saigon, and left in 1975 as part of Operation Babylift, and adopted into an American family.

Hello - I found this blog while searching for information regarding the VN national policy regarding mandatory military service for boys, if such exists, or other national policies affecting youth with VN citizenship.

Somewhere earlier on this blog, someone asked about the advantages and disadvantages of holding VN citizenship.  I wasn't able to find the responses, but could have missed them  (this is a very active blog!).

I'm the adoptive mom, and US citizen, to a VN-born boy. He came to the US at the age of 8 months, and at age 18 months, gained automatic US citizenship through his IR-3/IH-3 visa.  He's turning 16 this month, and for the reason stated above, I'm conflicted about whether my son should retain his VN citizenship.

Since he has a VN passport (now expired), I'm assuming he's still a citizen.  But, the passport was issued to him at the age of 8 months and has not been renewed since then.

I didn't see responses to this question about adoptees' VN citizenship.  Please, could someone fill me in?

Can someone direct me to information about policies regarding national policies affecting youth?  Certainly, along with VN citizenship must come some obligations!?

Thanks for all the great information on this blog.

Adoptmom,

That is a great question.  Currently, there is no answer for it.  I highly doubt that the Vietnamese Prime Minister, himself, will be able to answer you. 

Right now, as we speak, your son is not allowed to enlist in the Vietnamese army, even if he wants to.  Then, on the American side...  Presently, the US does NOT recognize dual-citizenships.  Uncle Sam is keeping a blind eye to this.  However, if a naturalized-American citizen gets involved with such sensitive issues, his US citizenship can be revoked. 

My suggestion to you is NOT take on Vietnamese citizenship, for your son, unless you really need it.  His educations and future prospects in the US far out-weight all that Vietnam has to offer him.  When he is all done with schools, at the very least, then he can try this gauntlet. 

I hope this helps.

Thanks for your thoughts. When I spoke with the VN Embassy in Wash DC, I received a vague answer ... essentially saying, why don't I find out if he's still considered a VN citizen by applying to renew his passport,  and then see what happens with regard to military obligations, if any.

With respect to VN-adoptees, your comments seem to confirm that no one knows for sure.

You gave good advise. He should make his own decision. To keep this option open for him, I could help by collecting as many documents as might be needed.  I have his VN birth certificate.  Can you think of other documents that might be needed?

Thanks, again.

p.s. An odd thing is that when we travel in VN, my son gets the VN price rate for things. Airline tickets, for example. Because his US passport says that his place of birth is VN.

Adoptmom,

You are a kind woman.  :thanks:

The current Vietnamese administration loves to put the cart before the horse,   :dumbom:  so this is only the beginning of things to come, if you really want to get at your adopted-son's Vietnamese affairs.

Off the top of my head, the only thing I can think of is to try and gather as much information about his biological parents as you can:  photocopies of their Chung Minh Nhan Dan, Birth Certificates and the likes.  They will come in handy, when your son wants to take up his Vietnamese ties.

The airline thing, along with almost anything else, is a thing of the past now...  I think!  Yeah, they used to charge us double for everything we buy.  But, a few years back, the government straightened that part out.  There might be a few exceptions, in the more remote areas of the country; otherwise, we pay pretty much the same, as our Vietnamese counterparts.

I am from Switzerland and I got my dual vietnamese passport yesterday.It only took me 45 minutes and I paid about USD 150:)

buhay :

I am from Switzerland and I got my dual vietnamese passport yesterday.It only took me 45 minutes and I paid about USD 150:)

Since you dragged up this thread, I was reminded of an article I read online recently saying that the Dual citizenship policy basically isn't that popular "as of August 2013, more than 4,000 overseas Vietnamese have registered to keep their nationality, only 0.1% of the 4 million total living abroad."

http://english.vov.vn/Overseas-Vietname … 266921.vov

The article talks about July 1, 2014 as a deadline for registering but I'm not sure what it means.

..Who have not lost their Vietnamese nationality prior to July 1, 2009—but do not have valid Vietnamese passports—wish to retain Vietnamese nationality,..

According to your link, most viet kieus are not aware of all the benefits from having dual citizenship in Vietnam such as being able to buy multiple real estates and investing in the vienamese stock market.

Buhay,

You must have had the Party card with you?

My partner got his Vietnamese passport and is now a dual.  We own a lot of land here, and transferring it to his name is going to be pretty expensive.

He didn't have to get a work permit first.  It was a real problem because he birth records in Ô Môn are long lost.

Wild_1, I went there with a friend of mine who knew those people from the embassy very well. After 45 minutes I got the vietnamese passport for me and my 2 years old daughter who was born in Switzerland.

ChrisFox, I am in the same situation. I have bought several apartments on behalf of the name of my parents in Vientam and wanted to transfer ownership of those apartments to me.

Do you know if having dual citzenship is sufficient to transfer those apartment on behalf of me or do I need something else such as being registered in Saigon?

Buhay,

Then dude, you should have asked your "friend" to brief you on your basic rights.  After all, we are just a bunch of strange Americans here...

Hey guys,

I've read all the comments here but still can't quite put a finger on this. I'm Viet-American and I'm thinking of reclaiming my citizenship so that I can find a job and stay in Vietnam for a long period of time. From what I've gathered here, the idea of dual citizenship is officially accepted but not recognized. So I'm looking for people who have dual citizenship and tell me about their experience. Are you subjected to everything the Vietnamese government says such as military obligations including drafting and whatnot? Is there anything you can get away with using your citizenship of the foreign country? What about marriage? Will it be considered a Vietnamese marriage or a mixed marriage since this directly affects whether or not I can bring my partner into the US? Can I enter the country with a foreign passport if I want to be there as a foreigner? I mean can I enter with whatever passport of my choosing if I want that status during my visit?

Does anyone know much about these things? Also, for those of you with a dual citizenship w/ USA, do you just use your American passport once you're back in US? Do you get into any problems for having two passports? Do you still pay your American taxes with the Vietnam's salary?


Thanks

@sora1607  Myself and a few other members also could answer a few of your questions but what you really need is responses from somebody like Wild_1 that's been though this and has more expertise on the subject. I saw your post on another blog awhile ago and would suggest that you edit this one and re-post what you put on the other site. The questions are more clear. Good luck.

Budman1 :

@sora1607  Myself and a few other members also could answer a few of your questions but what you really need is responses from somebody like Wild_1 that's been though this and has more expertise on the subject. I saw your post on another blog awhile ago and would suggest that you edit this one and re-post what you put on the other site. The questions are more clear. Good luck.

Thank you. I'm treading in unknown water after all and things are certainly not as clear and proper as American laws so any help is appreciated. If only we can go back to the time where getting a work permit is easy and teaching English is possible for non-white native speakers

Sora :

the idea of dual citizenship is officially accepted but not recognized

If something is not recognized, then it is not officially accepted.  But, that is on the American side of things.  Uncle Sam has never recognized dual citizenship, from anywhere, He just keeps a blind eye to it.

Are you subjected to everything the Vietnamese government says such as military obligations including drafting and whatnot

Technically, yes.  That is standard operating procedure in every nation-state.  But practically, no.  The Vietnamese People Army does not want anyone with foreign affiliations in its rank.   

Is there anything you can get away with using your citizenship of the foreign country?

Man...  This is like taking things without paying, or highway robbery...  I will say that you can come and go whenever you like.

What about marriage? Will it be considered a Vietnamese marriage or a mixed marriage since this directly affects whether or not I can bring my partner into the US?

Marriage between Vietnamese costs a few hundred thousand Dongs and takes a few days; while marriage between a Vietnamese and a foreigner costs a few million Dongs and takes at least 45 days.  There are legitimate reasons for the disparity, and petitioning to immigrate is one of them.  You just can't expect to pay Vietnamese prices and get the full foreigner treatment.

Furthermore, if both of you are Vietnamese, on what ground are you going to petition to immigrate to the US?

Can I enter the country with a foreign passport if I want to be there as a foreigner?

Yes.  But, that really defeats the purpose of gaining Vietnamese citizenship.

I mean can I enter with whatever passport of my choosing if I want that status during my visit?

False.  When you visit a place, you play by its rules.  The host might be nice and let you have your ways a little, but you can't expect it. 

Also, for those of you with a dual citizenship w/ USA, do you just use your American passport once you're back in US?

That is the best way, unless you want to go through the American entry visa process.

Do you get into any problems for having two passports?

Can't really tell you here.  I have yet to flaunt my passports.

Do you still pay your American taxes with the Vietnam's salary?

You must consult your accountant on this one.  I have dual incomes, thus I pay taxes to both.

Sora, dual citizenship is a big thing.  Literally, you double up on your political, social and economic responsibilities.  Therefore, you must weigh your options very carefully.  The Vietnamese Visa Exemption Certificate is a very good alternative.  Don't take on Vietnamese citizenship just to avoid the 90-days check-ins.

Best,
Howie

Thank you so much for the response. I'm not planning to get the citizenship to avoid the 90 days check-in. I think that by having that citizenship, I can get a job much easier than trying to ask employers to sponsor me a work permit under the new labor law. Just some further clarifying questions:

For marriage, based on what you've said, I guess I get to choose how to proceed with the marriage and what kind of label I can slap on it disregarding the costs and procedures.

As for having two passports upon re-entry to US, I'm asking because they will know through their security system. I mean I'm not silly enough to think I should go flaunting it in front of security but hell, they'll know through the scanners anyway.

I realized that this is a big decision and that's why I'm trying to get as much information as I can because the Vietnamese rules and laws are muddy at best regarding dual citizenship. I do have a Visa Exemption already but the new work permit law revision made it difficult for foreigners to get a job there so I am exploring the other option of reclaiming my citizenship

Sora :

For marriage, based on what you've said, I guess I get to choose how to proceed with the marriage and what kind of label I can slap on it disregarding the costs and procedures.

No.  That is not what I said.  What I said was you can choose which route you want to take.  However, you must be ready for all that will come your way, because they are not parallel.

Like I had previously mentioned, you must weight your options very carefully.  Personally, I took on Vietnamese citizenship with more than 3 years left on my VEC and just 3 months into my 3-years TRC.  There was no way I would have pull the trigger for just the 90-days check-ins and work permit.

Happy new year, everyone!

Thanks so much to people for posting on this thread - the information here has been extremely useful, if rather depressing for my personal situation.  Like Kim, I'm British and was born here, the daughter of "boat people" who, as a condition for obtaining British citizenship, renounced their Vietnamese nationality.  My mother is dead so riding on her coat-tails isn't an option even if it were possible.  And I haven't seen my deadbeat father in living memory.

From what I've read in this forum, there could be a faint possibility if my parents were still Vietnamese when I was born and I can track down their original birth certificates?  Is that the case?  And I still have relatives in Vietnam who have never left and can vouch for me if necessary.  FYI, I'm living in Hanoi on a career break but am currently in London for Xmas etc.

My thoughts are to obviously contact the Vietnamese embassy here in London for information, and then contact the Immigration office in Hanoi for more information as it sounds like it would be easier to get things processed in VN.  My Vietnamese isn't great but hopefully I know enough to get by and I can take my cousin with me if I get stuck with the official-ese.  From the sounds of things, I'll need to track down my mother's birth certificate in Hanoi anyway so cross fingers.  And hope that the Vietnamese authority overlook the whole "renunciation of nationality" thing that my parents did...

Any thoughts or advice?   If that doesn't work, then I might need to find myself a nice Vietnamese boy, which would most definitely please my family ;-).

Hi Caroline,

If I were you, the first thing I would do is seek the advices and introductions from my elderly Vietnamese relatives.  Yes, most of the time they are harder to deal with.  However, no one knows more about this Vietnam than they do.  Furthermore, if you can't deal with them, there is no way you can handle the Vietnamese bureaucracy.  Last but not least, one of them will have to sponsor you for this procedure, anyway.

Then, I would gather all of my parents' papers.  I am not too sure about Brit citizenship, but American's has the sworn in date on the certificate.  As for Vietnamese birth certificates, a copy will do.  Chances are you will have to go back to where your mom was born to trace her official birth certificate anyway.

Finally, if I were you, I would take my case to Hanoi immigration way before I toy around with the Vietnamese embassy folks.  It is next to impossible to get to know those embassy guys. 

Best wishes,
Howie

Thanks Howie for the prompt reply!  That's great advice.

Actually, my elderly Vietnamese relatives are absolutely lovely so no problems dealing with them.  The only problem I have with them is how to stop them from feeding me too much ;-)!  I just spoke to my aunt and it sounds like I can try to track down my mother's birth certificate in both Hanoi (where she was born) AND in Saigon as they had to re-register for all their documents when they moved down in '54.  I'm thinking it would probably be a miracle if they still kept birth records from the 1940/50s in either place but cross fingers...

She also confirmed that my parents were still Vietnamese when I was born, so hopefully that makes things a bit easier for me.  While I'm in the UK, I'm getting a copy of my mother's naturalisation certificate so that should offer some proof there.

BTW, do you think it would be easier to deal with authorities in Hanoi or Saigon?  I have relatives in both although my closer family (ie my uncle who would probably sponsor me) are in Saigon.

I'll post any further news on this here for future reference.

Caro

The one you know is always better.

wild-1 is right as usual.   the one you know and has the best connection is your best bet.  then again you still have to sift through all the relatives and friends who claim to know the best person to do the job.   its a time consuming process so be patient.

Thanks, OBB.  That's a Vietnamese trait that always gets under my skin, claiming to know more than they are actually capable of.  Thus, never take a Vietnamese, especially an older one, at face value.  The younger ones, 30-, aren't too bad.   

Anyway, make sure that you get a good lead.  Then make sure the contact acts within his or her authority.  Negotiate base on your best ability.  Just remember...  A good Vietnamese contact is hard to find.  But if you can manage to grab a hold of one, there is no telling what that person can get you out of. 

I treasure mine, all of them.

Caro,

If everything is equal, I would stick with the bunch in Saigon because, very important but often overlooked, where you file is where your place of residence will be.  Yes, once done, you can move it to your desired area.  But, that will cost time and money, and it won't be pocket change.  In vietnam, next to your citizenship, your place of residence determines where you should go and the kind of people you should see.

I know, for a fact, that there are millions of Vietnamese who want to be Saigonese but just can't.  So think ahead a little, don't short change yourself.

Wild_1 :

Thanks, OBB.  That's a Vietnamese trait that always get under my skin, claiming to know more than they are actually capable of.  Thus, never take a Vietnamese, especially an older one, at face value.  The younger ones, 30-, aren't too bad.

Dude, how do  you think have people survived in this environment without that trait ?  :dumbom:.
Exaggeration, in any way, shape and form, is a must: from the harmless form at the drinking table to the most serious forms. For a long time, I struggled to understand the popular euphemism "bệnh thành tích" (achievement disease). Now, I believe that it should be interpreted more as an aphorism of the current zeitgeist.


Anyway, back to the citizenship stuff. In principle, one does not need a birth certificate.
LAW ON VIETNAMESE NATIONALITY states
http://www.moj.gov.vn/vbpq/en/Lists/Vn% … emID=10451

b/ A copy of the birth certificate, passport or other valid substitute papers

Decree No. 78/2009/ND-CP of September 22, 2009, gives more details about the other valid substitute papers definition:
http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b470b2d2.html

Article 10
a/ Paper evidencing that the applicant is a former Vietnamese national is either of the following papers: copy of the birth certificate; copy of the decision permitting renunciation of Vietnamese nationality or the certificate of loss of Vietnamese nationality; or another paper stating his/her previous Vietnamese nationality or valid for evidencing his/her previous Vietnamese nationality;

So if you have the paper certifying that your parents have renounced their Vietnamese citizenship, it will be enough.

Thanks all of you for your help!  It's great to know that I don't need my mother's birth certificate as proof of identity.  I did manage to find her old ID card so maybe with that and a document from the UK on her renunciation of her nationality, that would suffice.

As for location, as someone who loves Hanoi, I'm not so sure I want to be Saigonese ;-). [Do Saigonese have to put sugar in EVERYTHING?!] However, it might be simpler with my two uncles down there...

You know we SAIGONESE arent as sweet as the Northern people so we tend to add sugar everywhere *joking*

Hanoi is a beautiful city and an interesting place to visit, but without Saigon and the South, Vietnam would be just an Asian backwater. Since the 17th Century Mekong Delta rice has fueled Vietnam's growth.

I should have added that I also like the Northern accent. The food's a bit bland, though, and Hanoi used to close down at night, while Saigon was hopping.

Hi Guys,

Hopefully some of you are still around from last year when I was posting endless questions (thanks for your help by the way)

So since visiting Vietnam I have learned my father no longer has his birth certificate which was lost as sea when my parents fled vietnam after the war to come to Britain.

My mum has passed away so I do not have anything from her either but also her papers were lost.

I was born in the UK after my parents came making me British, my sister on the other hand has a vietnamese birth certificate.

I spoke to my dad however it appears in those days there were no records, he does not know which hospital he was born and to be honest he seems reluctant to try (i suppose with concern it will affect his status in Britain).

I really am desperate to gain dual nationality- I love vietnam and I want some advice on how I can do this.

It seems for me there are obstacles everywhere but surely there must be a way?

Please help!

Hey Kimberley,

I'm in a slightly different position in that I managed to find my mother's birth certificate and Vietnamese ID card, and I have a copy of her naturalisation certificate which more or less confirms that my parents were still Vietnamese when they gave birth to me.  According to my reading of from the links that Anatta very kindly provided above, if both parents (or even one parent in certain cases) are Vietnamese, you automatically have a right to Vietnamese citizenship even if you were born overseas.  I'm trying to get documentation from National Archives on her name change back to her maiden name (she took my father's name when she arrived here which could complicate things) and a certified copy of the naturalisation certificate - mostly for the date of when she became British..  With all that and my uncle in Vietnam sponsoring the process, I'm hoping that the documentation I have should be sufficient.

I found the Vietnamese embassy in London to be rather useless to be honest - mostly because my Vietnamese isn't great in official situations and I'm rather embarrassed about that. I consequently haven't tried very hard though - just emails and phone calls so you might have better luck if you try to visit and/or set up a meeting.  I'm off to Vietnam next week so I'll be putting the process in motion over there as it seems much easier and quicker to do.

As for your situation, if your parents were indeed British when you were born, I think you might be out of luck unless you can convince your Dad to retake his nationality.  According to everything I've read, it shouldn't be a problem for him as he'll be able to keep his dual nationality - the only things that he would need to be aware of (like all dual nationals) is that if he's in Vietnam, he'll be regarded as a Vietnamese national.  I THINK  that there's currently an amnesty/fast track until 31 July 2014 for previous Vietnamese nationals to regain their nationality so if you go this direction, there's a bit of a time pressure. 

If your Dad doesn't like the idea of it, which sounds like the case, then you might have to go the long way round with naturalisation.  Anyway, read Anatta's links which I copied below and decide for yourself what you believe it says:

http://www.moj.gov.vn/vbpq/en/Lists/Vn% … emID=10451
http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b470b2d2.html

If, however, your parents were still Vietnamese when you were born, then you're in the same situation as me.  As Anatta says, you may not necessarily need a birth certificate - a copy of the UK naturalisation certificate may be enough just to prove that they had to be naturalised, and National Archives over here should have a copy of it.  It doesn't say what nationality your parents had before but perhaps you could try using your contacts back in Vietnam to vouch for their previous nationality.

Hope that helps,

Caroline

Hi Caroline,

I seriously doubt that my parents were still vietnamese when i was born as they were in the UK for about 3 years :(

I wonder if my sister having a birth certificate makes a difference...

I can but try- its a little crap as my parents were away so long their ties with family were extremely weakened and I will have to do alot of grovelling for their help!

Caroline have you found it hard to find work out there? Any tips would be appreciated.

Kim

"Hanoi is a beautiful city and an interesting place to visit, but without Saigon and the South, Vietnam would be just an Asian backwater. Since the 17th Century Mekong Delta rice has fueled Vietnam's growth."

True.  But without Hanoi and the North, the South would not be "Vietnamese" - it's the North that gives the country its identity and heritage, you know ;-)...

But hey, I come from a family that is rabidly Northern in its attitudes and prejudices.  Despite the fact that they spent most of their lives in the South after moving down in '54, they still manage to look down on Southerners as money-grabbing carpet-baggers whose sole obsession is with making more and more of that filthy lucre.  Pointing out that we as a family were obviously wealthy enough comparatively to have to luxury of NOT being obsessed by filthy lucre, doesn't seem to make much difference.  It's up there with trying to convince them that black people and Arabs can be people too [sigh].

However, as a relative outsider and someone who is doing the terribly cliched of trying to get back to her roots, I infinitely prefer Hanoi.  If I wanted the bright lights of the city and big shopping malls, I could have stayed in London or Paris.  Saigon may be many things but charming it is not.  And plus, I'm starting to really love the rhythms of Hanoi: of getting up at 5.30am to exercise by the lake, of eating proper pho and bun cha (and even dog meat (!)) for breakfast and lunch, of pronouncing "z" as opposed to "j" all the time ;-).  What can I say - I love the place...

Kim,

It took my mother 7 years to finally get British citizenship and apparently she was fast-tracked because she gave birth to me (a British citizen) more or less immediately after they arrived.  So there's still a chance that they were still Vietnamese when you were born, albeit with indefinite leave to stay in the UK.

In terms of work - I'm not working in VN at the moment: I'm taking a career break and doing a Masters by correspondence.  However, as I work in the aid/development sector, I would probably be able to get a job there as an expat - my Vietnamese isn't good enough to get a job as a local, leaving aside work permits and nationality.  But getting an expat job is very much dependent on your skills as it's got to be something that is difficult to find locally.  Unlike in other countries I've worked in, there appear to be more expats working in the commercial sector than in diplomatic/aid so that's quite a bit of scope there.

Alternatively, I know a few expats who are setting up businesses or who work as consultants in VN but there seems to be a lot of red tape involved unless you partner with a Vietnamese.  Maybe other people on this board could help. 

C

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